RCA 541497 (60 duscs)

This a welcome issue, the second in a series, and an incredible bargain. The first huge boxed set in this series (mentioned on this SITE contains 60 disks of famous Living Stereo recordings, all remastered and sounding better than ever - and at super-budget price, a small fraction of original cost. Many collectors already own many of these, of course, but it surely is convenient to have them in one big box. . This second volume contains many treasures that will bring back many memories for old-generation collectors.

Here are some of the highlights: Many disks are devoted to Charles Munch: his famous Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, the Berlioz Requiem, Romeo and Juliet and Symphonie fantastique, as well as symphonies of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schubert and, of course, Ravel. Pierre Monteux leads Tchaikovsky's Symphonies 4 and 5. Fritz Reiner is well represented with many of his Strauss recordings, the famous Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, and one of my favorites, the Polka and Fugue from Schwanda by Weinberger. Arthur Rubinstein plays concertos by Brahms and Chopin as well as solo works of Beethoven and Chopin. Van Cliburn plays Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff concertos. Jascha Heifetz's recordings of concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Vieuxremps, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn and Glazunov are there. Gregory Piatigorsky plays Dvorak and Walton concertos, Earl Wild plays Gershwin. There are four complete operas: Tosca (Milanov/Bjoerling/Warren), Barber of Seville (Peters/Merrill), Otello (Vickers/Rysanek), and Lucia di Lammermoor (Peters/Peerce). Organist Virgil Fox has a recital, and there are operatic disks by Leontyne Price and Anna Moffo. Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops figure prominently, as does Morton Gould in varied repertory including dazzling marches. It is true that some of these are to be found in other budget collections, but that does not diminish the importance of this huge impressive set. Don't miss this one!!

R.E.B. (October 2016)